The biggest indicator of the president-elect's vision for federal employees came at his Oct. 22 Gettysburg speech, where Trump called for a federal hiring freeze — except for military, public health and public safety employees — but didn't elaborate on how long it would last.

"What he's talked about, as best as I can tell, is moving forward with this hiring freeze and then perhaps moving to the Republican plan of replacing, say, one out of every two or three people who retire," said Don Kettl, professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "That's problematic in lots of ways, but it seems to be one position that he's staked out.

"He’s also talked about in the regulatory area, which is related to the management issues, putting a moratorium on regulations. I think he’s talked about taking away two regulations for every new rule he introduces. We don’t have a whole lot of other detail otherwise on those management issues, but at least we have that."

The Trump White House will inherit the anticipated dearth of new talent in the federal government as a generation of Boomer employees approach retirement.

It’s likely that the combination of a hiring freeze combined with the increasing retirement numbers will be a Trump administration’s top instruments for reducing federal workforce numbers through attrition.

"That’s a short term approach," said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel of the Professional Services Council, a trade association for the contracting community.

"The freeze of federal hiring doesn’t mean that no new workers come in. I think he would look more to the private sector, either in contracting out or bringing in new capabilities to the federal workforce."

What’s unknown is how much will Office of Personnel Management initiatives such as Hiring Excellence and metric-based engagement programs will figure into the White House’s policy.

Those efforts to bring in more Millennial talent and retain it figured heavily in ongoing efforts like IT modernization, category management and acquisition reform.

"I think undergirding all of the management challenges across government — and IT and acquisition are no exception — are the challenges of recruiting and retaining talent to work on them," said Robert Shea, a principal at Grant Thornton and a former associate director for administration at the Office of Management and Budget.

"The acquisition workforce is underprepared and over taxed. So I think major reforms are a fine place to invest some energy, but if you don’t have the talent to get the job done it doesn’t matter how efficient the process is."

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